I'm not in a rush. I have got to be back at work on the 29th. And it's only 250 kilometers to the Italian border. So I decided on taking another rest day.
To keep my blog alive, I thought I'd write a few lines about my old backpack.
Spring 2016: in anticipation of Te Araroa, I am browsing the web for a suitable backpack. As it is my first thru-hike, I don't really know what I am looking for. The only criteria is to fit my full frame camera. That narrows my search down considerably. I stumble across a review of a photographer and thru-hiker. He praises a backpack of Seekoutside. The Unaweep Panel Loader. It's somewhat love at first sight and I pull the trigger. Buying it without ever actually wearing it. Naive? Probably. But my gut tells me I will have a good time with it.
I pick my pack up while on vacation in Florida. I get rid of my suitcase and use the new backpack instead. Seems to fit perfectly. Yet, I'll have to find out on my training hikes.
The backpack fits. Its aluminum frame makes it rigid, which goes well with my hollow back and makes it feel lighter than it is.
That's good because it's not exactly lightweight. Neither is my other equipment.
It's not waterproof either. Not then and definitely not now. I learn it the hard way on one of my training hikes when I forget to attach a rain cover. Remember... I was a greenhorn back then.
Te Araroa is rough. I fall dozens of times, mostly right onto my backpack, I have to bush bash, crawl beneath fallen trees, throw the backpack over fences. Many times. I am not treating it gently. Yet, nothing ever breaks or tears on the trail. The company usually builds hunting packs. They are made to withstand the beating. And so is mine.
Many more hikes follow. A broken latch. Nothing else.
So far it probably joined me up to nearly 15000 kilometers. It could do more kilometers. That I am sure of. However, wear and tear is getting a bit of a problem. The cushioning on hip and shoulder straps is hardly existing anymore. I have to use a cut up camping mattress around my waist to still be able to wear it comfortably. Also I am worried something might break, something that might not be possible to properly fix. And on a thru-hike this is not what I want.
Therefore, I decided on purchasing a new backpack. Same company but this one is designed with thru-hiking in mind. Once more it is a bit of a gamble but the gut feeling is good.
The new pack is already waiting for me at home. Transferring my stuff from the old to the new one makes me feel a bit melancholic thinking of what I went through with it. All the ups and downs. It's become a part of me. A very important part.
Even when retired, it always will keep a special place in my heart.
It makes a first good impression. Sturdier than I thought (a good thing for me). The waterproof UltraPE fabric is not flimsy at all looks durable. The frame is familiar to my old one and it rides good even without the adjustments, which I still need to do.
The following 250 kilometers will be a good opportunity to this and to get familiar with it. I am pretty excited!